Manager Robin Ventura called it “bizarre.” Trayce Thompson would call it painful.
So would the small crowd who witnessed it. The Oakland A’s scored four runs in the ninth inning against Sox closer David Robertson to force extra innings in a game that lasted till the 14th. For Robertson, who had retired the last 26 batters he had faced, the lead he was put in charge of protecting was too large to warrant a save situation.
How A’s scored four runs would make a manager cry — a dropped third strike on a wild pitch, a nullified double play grounder because of catcher’s interference and a passed ball due to Robertson throwing a fastball when catcher Tyler Flowers was expecting a curve. That mixup tied the game.
Hours later, after the game between two teams playing out the season had ended with maybe a thousand, at best, fans still attending at U.S. Cellular Field — it was 12:19 a.m. on a September school night — Flowers and Robertson decided the best thing to do was laugh it off. And why not, the Sox walked off with a win on Melky Cabrera’s RBI single in the 14th, touching off the usual run-around, jump-around fun in the infield.
Standing side by side after the game, their routine for a handful of reporters went like this:
Flowers: We managed to make a debacle of the ninth inning.Robertson: Yeah, I would agree.Flowers: Mainly we have to point out.Robertson: Klay Thompson’s brother should have caught the ball. (Trayce Thompson made a valiant running, diving attempt on the first hit of the ninth that went for a double. He left the game with a hyperextended left elbow).Flowers: It starts right there.Robertson: That’s where it started. I almost killed Flow crossing him up.Flowers: I touched it though, so it was OK.Robertson: You did get a glove on it. Once I realized I threw the wrong pitch, it was really bad.Flowers: it was a bad time for it too, with the tying run on third. Other than that, if I could have blocked the ball, it would have been better.Robertson: Well, yeah. But I almost killed you or the umpire.Flowers: That would have been OK. It was Joe [West] back there.Robertson: I threw that one hard, though. It looked even harder when it skimmed off your glove and went into the screen.Flow: The guy told me at the backstop, he was yelling at me. Not too many people left at that point.Reporter: You reached in and interfered with Reddick because it looked like a home run pitch.Flowers: I was just protecting him. It was an OK spot but I felt like Reddick was looking there.Robertson: He was being a good teammate. He had that feeling.Flowers: If I didn’t slow him down, he was going to hit it. Because I got the glove in the way, it looked like a double play ball. We really just wanted to get the next guy.Robertson: yeah, going for the next guy.Flowers: This wouldn’t be happening if we didn’t win.Robertson: Solid outing by me there.Flowers: On a serious note, Johnny [Danks] threw great out there. Solo homers, that’s ok. He threw the ball really well all day. That’s the one serious response you get today.